Mazi Chukz is a special talent. He caught our attention back in 2013 with his debut track Ebeano, showcasing his signature slick style. He then had everybody talking when he followed up with back to back hits – One in a Million & Ifunanya. Effortlessly infusing English with his mother tongue ‘Igbo’ – Mazi created a slower tempo serenading style.
More recently, his new single ‘Rotate’ is making waves across social media and the rest of the world.
Many argue he perhaps doesn’t get the recognition he deserves, especially for the significant part he played in the development of the UK Afro beats genre we now see today. He has since quietly but confidently continued to create a buzz, amassing a loyal fanbase with his unique sound which sets him apart from his peers.
We caught up with Mazi to talk all things Afro beats & what it means to him, growth, new music, his love life and plans for 2018!
Here’s how it went down…
How It Started
Integr8: So Mazi, when did you realise you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Mazi: Well, my earliest memories are of my dad playing all the classic hit records…On Saturdays in particular, he’d play anything from Osadebe to the Jackson 5’s and the sounds of Hi Life music would travel it’s way into my room. Saturday was the day to listen to music in our house.
Because of the early exposure I had to music growing up, I started off as a serious Michael Jackson fan (who wasn’t?). As I began to explore more music, that’s when I heard Snoop Dogg in the 90s with his effortless vibe and relaxed flow. That’s when I realised music was what I wanted to do.
One time, my Uncle asked what I wanted to be when I was older.
I responded, “I want to be a musician or footballer.”
You should have seen the look on my dad’s face! My Dad then quickly brushed me aside and said nervously, “Oh no, he’s only joking he’s going to be a Doctor.”
Integr8: With that said, are they supportive of your music career now that it’s a reality?
Mazi: Yes, 100%! my mum actually calls regularly from Naij to see how music is going.
Integr8: What inspires you?
Mazi: I get my inspiration from the various artists I heard growing up and also from playing drums in the choir at church.
Integr8: What’s your creative process when it comes to making a song? & what influences your lyrics?
Mazi: I like to write about things relatable. So for example, “One in a million” – I wrote it because everyone has that one person that is solid for them. For some, it could be that reliable guy or girl that stands by them and will go the extra mile for them. Likewise, when I made “Rotate” last year, it was just me capturing the vibe everyone feels of wanting to dance.
Integr8: If you weren’t making music, what career path would you have taken?
Mazi: I’m into Tech as well as Politics. With music it’s difficult to get political though. You have to be so careful about the message you’re conveying.
Integr8: Did you experience any surprises going from a normal life into the music industry?
Mazi: Honestly, when you’re on the outside you don’t know what to expect. They say you have to put in your 10,000 hours in to perfect your craft, so I guess the shock for me was learning how the game works. It wasn’t just about getting my first buzz but also learning how to manage it. The Industry can turn it’s back on you once your buzz dies down and because of that, nobody is guaranteed a 2nd run.
Integr8: Mazi, tell us a bit about where you’re from and where you grew up? Can you speak your mother-tongue?
Mazi: I’m originally from Imo state in Nigeria but I grew up in Lagos. Although I emigrated to the UK at a young age (around 11), my parents made sure we could speak our language. So, I can say proudly that YES! I can 100% I can speak, read and even write Igbo. One thing though, I got shipped back later on (you know how it goes) for being a bit naughty. I needed that Naija discipline!
Integr8: Are you influenced by any other Afrobeats artist(s) out there?
Mazi: Oh, most definitely! As I said, I grew up on Afro beats when it hadn’t yet crossed over to being a mainstream genre. I’m talking about the days of Plantation boys, favourites of mine and the group 2face Idibia came from. Later on came Mo Hits records with Wande Coal. You have to give credit to all of the artists that are out there taking Afrobeats to the world: Wiz, Burna Boy and Dbanj – for his entertainment style.
Integr8: There are so many titles out there, Afrobeats, Afro swing – What does it all mean to you?
Mazi: For me it’s Afro pop. African music and beats mixed with popular culture.
Integr8: What are some of your other interests?
Mazi: Politics, Event planning, Managing, Football (when Man United are not being annoying!)
Integr8: New music and shows in the pipeline?
Mazi: Absolutely! The aim is to triple what I did in 2017 to continue building momentum, getting closer to my fans and developing my own sound.
Integr8: Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Mazi: My tips would be: Make sure you’re ready for your first run. Always be in the studio perfecting your craft. Don’t rush. Be certain of your style. When you make a good song, record 3 or 4 more songs with that sound.
Don’t always look at what others are doing. Stick to what makes you, you. Music has to be an individuals interpretation, otherwise we’d all sound the same.
Finally, No one can outclass you at being you!
Integr8: Who are you likely to collab with in the near future?
Mazi: All I can say is there is a Big collaboration coming with one of the producers I’ve worked with recently.
Integr8: Lastly, some of our readers would like to know whether you’re single and searching?
Mazi: Haha 😂 Let them come and ask me themselves!
Integr8: Special Lady?
Mazi: 🤐 No go zone!!
For more of Mazi check out his “If not now” EP on Soundcloud. Be sure to check out his new single dropping next week 👀🙇🏾♀️. Social Media accounts below: